Wednesday night was certainly a drama-filled match full of goals, penalties and of course Reading throwing away a lead away from home! The Royals’ winless league run is now nine games long, but the first point of the season was gained so all is not lost just yet.
Today Paul Clement’s side journey to the Midlands for a notoriously tricky game at Aston Villa - travelling Royals fans view Villa Park as one of the toughest grounds to visit as Reading have only won once in 11 matches there. That win came in 2017 with Joseph Mendes’ finest moment for the club as his brace helped Reading comfortably win 3-1. Can Reading pull off another miracle at Villa park or will it be business as usual for the home side?
Form: LWLD (all competitions)
Tiago Ilori is back in contention for selection after missing the Blackburn game with a slight thigh injury. The Portuguese centre-back has produced stable performances when fit, especially paired with Liam Moore. In contrast, Paul McShane has been in the firing line after heavily criticised performances against Bolton and Blackburn. Paul Clement now faces a dilemma whether to bench his captain or keep faith and risk more criticism from the fans. Reading also welcome back Mo Barrow from injury, whilst new loan signing Josh Sims will be pushing for a starting place after his cameo at Ewood Park. One to watch will be striker Jon Dadi Bodvarsson who hit two goals on Wednesday night. The Icelander will certainly be on a high at the moment as he also announced the news this week that he will becoming a father in January 2019. Myself and everyone here at The Tilehurst End would like to send our congratulations to Jon and his partner Maria on their wonderful news!
Top Goal Score: Bodvarsson 3
Form: WWWDD (all competitions)
Villa will have new signing Anwar El Ghazi available after his loan move from French side Lille. The Dutch winger has the flair and dribbling to get Villa fans off their seats but had not been productive in Ligue 1 after his transfer from Ajax in 2017. Steve Bruce is facing injury problems up front with Scott Hogan sidelined leaving Jonathan Kodjia the only senior striker in the squad. However, Villa have a very creative team spearheaded by Jack Grealish, who Tottenham Hotspur had been pursuing all summer. Keeping Grealish has put them in a good position both in terms of squad depth and in the league, as they sit 5th. They will provide a strong test to Reading with their quick counter attack and possession play.
Top Goal Scorer: Jonathan Kodjia 3
- Reading’s clean sheet record against Villa has been terrible, with the Royals only managing one clean sheet in their last 21 matches against the Midlands side.
- The Royals’ winless away record has stretched to 16 matches since a 3-1 win over Burton Albion in January.
Reading face an enormous task visiting an in-form Aston Villa at a ground they have always struggled to get results at. The Villa faithful will provide an intimidating atmosphere, matching an impressive squad on the pitch. If Reading are to have a chance in this game, they will need to be clinical with every chance the opposition half. While we were clinical in the first half on Wednesday, we failed to truly kill the game off which enabled small mistakes to turn the momentum of the game. I can see Aston Villa being favourites this weekend to walk away with a victory, but knowing Reading they could provide a few shocks when pitted as the underdog. Aston Villa 2 Reading 1